Influence of pocket shape on numerical response of geocell reinforced foundation systems

Thomas Telford Ltd.
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Geosynthetics International, 2021, 28, (3), pp. 327-337
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Geocells are three-dimensional cellular expandable mats used to improve the load-carrying capacity of weak subgrades. The expanded geocell pockets take the shape of a honeycomb connected to their neighbouring pockets. This manuscript deals with the importance of considering the exact shape of the geocell pockets in three-dimensional numerical modelling. The data for the calibration of the numerical models was obtained through laboratory plate load tests. The numerical simulations were carried out using finite difference software, Fast Lagrangian Analysis of Continua in Three Dimensions (FLAC3D). The walls of the geocell were modelled using geogrid elements having only tensile load capacity. The interfaces between the geocell walls and the infill soils were modelled using Mohr-Coulomb yield criterion. Three shapes of geocell pockets, viz. an exact honeycomb shape and simplified shapes (square and diamond), were considered in the numerical simulations. The numerical models with an exact shape of pockets have shown better agreement with experimental data, while the models with approximated shape overestimated the actual load capacity. The paper describes the modelling approach and the reasons for more accurate numerical predictions with the exact shape of geocell pockets compared to simplified pocket shapes.
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